When he had said this, he cried out, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go’. (John 11:43-44)
We believe God the Father raised up Jesus on Easter Day. We also believe that Jesus will raise us up when we die.
In today’s reflection, I want to proclaim that Jesus can also raise the dead even before they die. Jesus is in the raising-up business on the other side of the grave and on this side as well.
The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead isn’t an example of His raising up the living dead—Lazarus had, in fact, really died. There are, though, elements in Lazarus’ story that illuminate how Jesus raises up the dead even before they’ve actually died.
Life is sometimes so hard that we can fall into a hole, a cavern, or even a grave before we die. Disappointments, losses, failures, and betrayals can drain or steal our life.
When we fall into “living graves,” Jesus grieves. He grieves when our hearts have been broken, our hopes have been destroyed, and our trust has been abused. He grieves when we’re living half-lives.
Jesus does more than grieve. Grieving is mostly passive. But Jesus is active. He stands outside our tombs, and just like He called Lazarus by name, so Jesus calls us by name: “Linda…Paul…Cynthia…Ted…come out!”
When Jesus called Lazarus, he came out. The man who had been dead for days came shuffling out of his tomb alive.
If we are currently in some tomb, Jesus knows where we are. He also wants us to know that He’s right now calling us to come out because He wants us to live.
I encourage us to hear His voice and to heed His command. I encourage us to come out to Jesus so that we can live again.
- Have you ever been tossed or fallen into a “living tomb?” I have. I know mine—at least some of them. Betrayal. Loss. What have been some of your own living tombs?
- Where are you now? Would you say that you are living a full life? If not, what potential, hopes, dreams, or abilities does Jesus need to call forth?
- The issue isn’t whether Jesus wants to call us forth from our dark places. The issue is whether we’re listening. Are you listening for His call to come forth, to live, to be all you can be by His grace?